Monday, March 10, 2014

At the Jazz Club...

The featured band, Eastside Prohibition Jazz Band, had a girl singer like no other - Nanette of "Nanette and Her Parlor Boys" was doing the band a favor by appearing with them.  It's a new group, put together by and containing several of the usual jazz club musicians.

As usual, when we got there at 2 p.m. the pick-up band was tootling and whaling away.  They run interference, so to speak, until the feature band starts laying at 3 p.m. which they continue to do until 4.  When they've done an encore, it's time for the monthly raffle. 

We certainly noticed the woman in the scalp-clinging cloche hat with all the glitter hanging off of it - to say nothing of what she was wearing - a floor-length, wildly-patterned kimono.  She flittered back and forth from the room to the bar and back again.  We just thought she was a crazy person, in from the street.  The Knights of Columbus venue is a step from the sidewalk that leads to the beach.  People passing hear the music and sometimes slip in to see what's going on. 

So just some hapless and hopeless female; she'd be gone soon.  But hark!  What's this?  When the starring band hit the bandstand, there she was minus the kimono!  From top to bottom, she wore these clothes - all in ice blue - the cloche hat, dripping various lengths of crystal strings, an intricate flapper dress of satin with beaded panels and fringe; over-the-elbow satin gloves, finished off with ice blue satin shoes with lace inserts at the toes that matched the design on her gown.  I thought "6th wedding of a flapper/gold digger."

To open the act, she came out on the dance floor and wandered to every table in the room, shaking hands with everyone at the tables.  Small hands, I noticed.  But strong.

She was a great one for mingling.  The band - who acted more like this was a rehearsal than a performance - lots of asides, mock wars and pretend insults - insisted she sing "Pretty Baby."  Much mock grumbling on her part, but she grabbed her prop which was a lacy baby cap attached to a snap-on headband and toured the room again, this time placing the baby hat on a guy's head and singing directly to him.  Since the average male at these gatherings is 84, they looked like really old babies.  Some mugged it up; others appeared sheepish in the extreme. 

The band leader had set out six Japanese paper umbrellas to dress the stage so naturally there was an umbrella parade with audience members (women) taking an umbrella and strutting along in a line.  One bold woman handed hers off to a young guy and he gamely got up and pranced halfway arouond the room with the ladies.

Because none of her hair was visible under the close-fitting hat and because she was Spanx'd to a fare-the-well with corseting a Victorian lady would swoon to have, I wasn't altogether sure she wasn't a he.  

No offense intended at all to Nanette but what I thought as I gazed upon her antics was:  a woman dressed up like a man dressed up like a woman.  Confusing, I know.  (And I saw her live and in person.)  Google turned up a Janet Klein and Her Parlor Boys, but, no - no Nanette. 

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